Fort Lewis College News and Events

Long awaited Colorado breeding bird atlas takes flight on November 17

The Second Colorado Breeding Bird Atlas will be officially released at a celebration at Maria’s Bookshop in Durango on November 17 at 6:30 p.m. The evening will include a discussion, book signing and silent auction to benefit the Colorado Bird Atlas Partnership. The atlas project was headed by Lynn Wickersham, a research associate with the San Juan Institute of Natural and Cultural Resources at Fort Lewis College.

Lynn Wickersham
Lynn Wickersham

The Second Colorado Breeding Bird Atlas is an update to the first atlas published in 1998, which has been a widely used resource for natural resource experts, educators and birders. The atlas details each of the breeding bird species found in Colorado, its habitat use and range, ecology and conservation issues. It is a massive undertaking to track, research and document the over 260 species of bird that appear in the book.

“The book required thousands of hours of effort, not only from myself but also numerous other volunteer authors, peer reviewers, technical editors, designers, and various data management and mapping assistants,” Lynn explains. “The dataset includes nearly 200,000 records. Data analysis and map, graph, and data table production took well over a year of effort. Writing, peer review, and editing for 262 species accounts took nearly two years.”

“The color bird illustrations required at least 6 months of creation. Design and layout of the book was also a long and challenging process, but local designers from Cabbage Creative did an outstanding job. In total, from the time the last piece of field data was collected, it took about four years to bring the book to publication.”

The journey toward the publication of The Second Colorado Breeding Bird Atlas began for Lynn in 2007 when she teamed up with former FLC professor, Dr. Catherine Ortega. The two submitted a proposal to oversee the new atlas to Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). Once they were awarded the project, they were off and running.

For more information on The Second Colorado Breeding Bird Atlas visit  

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